Archbishop of Sarajevo faces eviction
November 08, 2010
A court in Bosnia-Herzegovina has demanded that Cardinal Vinko Puljic vacate his residence, saying that the property belongs to the family of a former member of the Yugoslavian secret police.
“They can enter over my dead body,” the defiant cardinal announced.
The residence in the center of Sarajevo had been the property of the Catholic Church since it was built in 1895, but the former Communist authorities took possession, reserving one apartment within the building for a secret-police officer. During the war that followed the collapse of the Yugoslavian Communist regime, the officer fled, leaving behind a cache of surveillance equipment.
The secret police in Communist-era Yugoslavia were known for their hostility to the Catholic Church. There is evidence that the equipment left in the officer’s apartment had been used to spy on leading priests of the Sarajevo archdiocese. Some bugs were discovered in the cardinal’s bedroom.
The Episcopal conference of Bosnia-Herzegovina condemned the court’s ruling, saying that it was “the culmination of a long practice of rulings against individuals and institution in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”